Cataclysm and The Lost Effect: Part 2

Jack

Kate

Hurley

Sawyer

Sayid

Sun

Jin

Locke

Claire

Charlie

Michael

Shannon

Walt

Boone

Rose

Bernard

Rousseau

Ethan

Aaron

And that is just the first season.

If there is one thing I can say about LOST, it is that the whole show was very heavy on its characters, and character interaction.  Having such a big cast, as listed above, you really have little room to breathe, if you want each character to develop.  Each scene MUST have at least 2 characters, sometimes many, many more, in order to showcase each character each week.

And grow they did.  The island put them through the paces.  Each week we were treated to a new trial or tribulation on the island.  Out of water.  Out of food.  Need shelter.  Claire is in labor.  Not to even mention the strange and spooky things like “The Others” and “The Smoke Monster.”  And each week, through all the trials and tribulations, the characters grew into something that we became emotionally invested in.  Wether it was Jack becoming the reluctant leader, or the enormously prophetic and wise Rose, or the constant running of Kate (which, by the way was the character I thought was the most shallow out of the whole series), or the strange love triangle of Sawyer, Kate, and Jack, it all pushed us into the character part of the story.

And then Season 2 came.

And Season 3.

4.

5.

And at long last we reached the end, at Season 6.

But somewhere along the lines, things lost focus.

I wish I could say there was a definate pin point spot, but there isn’t.  Slowly… Ever so slowly, the story started becoming more about “The Island” with the characters taking the sideline.  Let me explain.

Season 1 was almost exclusively about the survivors of the crash, and their efforts for survival.  Along with it came the, now infamous, LOST flashbacks.  It delved us into how the characters got stuck on the island, and was a brilliant plot device.

But halfway through the season, the funny stuff started popping up.  The Others – another subset of people on the island – were a menace.  Then the smoke monster showed its… erm…  cloud?

Season 2 hearalded in The Hatch, as well as several other characters.  The show became quickly focused on what was going on in the island around them, The Dharma Initiative, The Button that needs pressing, and later in the season, The Others.  Season 2 also brought in “The Tailers” – People who were in the tail section of the plane.

Season 3 expanded on The Others, but also expanded on what was going on in the island.  The Dharma Initiative was a recurring theme, as well as the smoke monster, Time travel was introduced, A plotline about babies not being born on the island, captivity, and Jacob.

Season 4 got more convoluted than ever, with an escape within their grasp, the season became all about the power struggle of the two forces on the island – The Others, and Widmore’s crew who want to slaughter everyone.

Season 5 was full of a whole lot of strange time travel (at times it seems even the writers were confused about where they were going), and Oceanic 6 – the few who actually made it off the island.

Season 6 finally ended the mess of time travel, and was all about tying up loose ends, and the “Sideways World.”

You see, somehow, the writers shifted the focus mid way.  They changed the focus from the characters, and the core experience of the characters, to this magical, mythical island.  It is especially prevalent in the end of season 4 and all of season 5.  Every move was in order to fix, or prevent, damage to the island.  No longer did we have a clear “Bad Guy” to look at.  It was the island – and shades of gray.

Whew.  I know, that is a lot to take it.  But its difficult to understand where I am going with this, if I don’t lay out everything.

Warcraft is in, what I think, a critical juncture right now.  A LOT has changed since its beginning.  I wasn’t there for the beginning, for sure, but I was there for “the BC era.”  And even I can see that the change is evident.  And more change is coming, with Cataclysm.

But what is the heart of WoW?  Is it the gaming experience?  Is it the social aspect?  Is it the story?  Is it some combination there of?  Is it something I haven’t mentioned?

When I think of WoW I think of two things – The social aspect (it is an mmo, after all), and the storyline.  After all, what is WoW without its rich, immersive world chock full of story in every little nook and cranny?  Its just another off the shelf MMO – one of dozens out there, I am sure.  Every time I log in, and see the Horde toons galavanting around Dalaran, I just want to smash their faces in (yes, I am diehard alliance!).  I do my dailies (or farm the AH) so I can afford to raid, and push towards The Lich King in ICC.

But what is next?  What happens after Arthas has been killed?  Arthas is the singular biggest lore figure in WoW – dating all the way back to WAR3.  If you ever played WAR3 you got a chance to, not only see him become his corrupted self, but a chance to control him, and make him do those evil deeds (I remember vividly the Culling of Stratholme).

And now what?  We kill off the most iconic person in WoW lore, and what happens?

Another baddie pops in, that is what.

Because there has to be a goal – a drive to the end.  And it has to be more than just gameplay.  So we get deathwing.  And deathwing is going to be a bigger threat than Arthas.  Sure, Arthas could control the scourge, wipe whole empires off of the face of Azeroth, but Deathwing is going to rip the world apart.  He is going to sunder the continents and shake the world to its core.

But guess what?   I don’t care.

No, no, don’t get me wrong.  I care.  I can’t wait to see the game I love so much get a much needed facelift, more content, more story.  But as the penultimate bad guy for the expansion, if I don’t ever get to see him, Meh.  Other people will.  And that is good.  Deathwing definately needs to die, but not necessarily from my hammer.

You see, I just don’t have the same emotional draw with me, like Arthas does.  Ultimately, he is a “Monster” and not a villain.  And that is sad for me.  Because then I ask myself, who is the next baddie?

And I draw a complete blank.

Because, right now, the only thing that is really exciting for me in this next expansion is going to be the growing tensions between the factions.  If it came down to an all out open faced war, I would love that.  WORLD WAR – WoW Expansion #4.

What I don’t want is another faceless monster.  Another Dragon to kill.  Another bad guy who wants to destroy the world.

Because, looking into the future of WoW, I see that the emotional investment is going to be LOST.  It will be splintered in too many directions, each character being with us not long enough to make a lasting impact.  No real drive to actually kill the [insert thing here].

I really hope the WoW dev’s and loremasters hold true to the core of WoW, and don’t lose sight like the crew of LOST did, and ask us to constantly switch gears, a new villian that we have little emotional investment in every expansion.  Make us CARE that we are killing something.  Because if it is just another dragon each time.  Well, then WoW has LOST its heart.

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Comments
One Response to “Cataclysm and The Lost Effect: Part 2”
  1. Dump says:

    Good thoughts Fire, I to think things are coming to a crossroads in WoW, they totally failed to interest me in pvp for the whole Wrath expac and I am hoping with rated BG’s it will re-kindle my interest cause that was a big facet of the game for me.

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